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Justice

The link between Moldova’s cases lost at the ECtHR, cut of public funds for judiciary and Chicu’s anger

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The Ministry of Finance blocked the allocations for the judiciary provided from the state budget in a total amount of 70 million lei for a period of 60 days. Therefore, the state budget for 2020 could be adjusted and the funds, as a consequence, could be redirected to another scope. How is it related to the cases lost by Moldova at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), as well as with the Government indignation regarding the total amount of damages to be paid?

The triggering case at the ECtHR

The Government of the Republic of Moldova has to pay damages of 1 515 000 euros and to return to the plaintiffs the their property in the so-called “Gemenii” case. According to a Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) decision from 2005, the owners of the centrally located commercial building were dispossessed of half their properties. By the decision of ECtHR issued on February 18, 2020, a damage of over 1.5 million was established, along with other 2 120 000 euros the value properties (building and land), if they are not returned, 5000 euros non-pecuniary damages and 10 000 euros for costs and expenses.

All in all, an amount of 3 650 000 euros represents the damages to be paid by the Moldovan state on this case only. For comparison, the Republic of Moldova was obliged to pay over 17.1 million euros to the complainants from the country based on all judgements delivered by the Court until December 31, 2019.

An angry Government and a reverberated judiciary

Prime Minister Ion Chicu was outraged that the Government must pay now “for the 15-year-old sins”.

“There is so much said about the rights and nothing about the accountability of judges. Thus, it’s a power in the state that doesn’t have any responsibility. Only rights and guarantees. I repeat for the corrupt gang in the judiciary: any money paid by Moldova for your illegal decisions will be at your expense. Do not wait that children or elderly will pay for your illegalities. As long as I am a premier, a penny will not be transferred to the ECtHR causes, until we get them from you,” harshly reacted Chicu.

Prime minister called for filing a criminal case against the 5 judges from SCJ who pronounced the sentence and required to withdraw the amount of 70 million lei from the state budget allocated for the judicial system and redirect them to cover the caused damages. The chief executive also demanded that the salaries of employees other than judges “should not be touched”.

On the other hand, the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) declared that the statements of the public officials regarding the material responsibility of the judges and of the entire judiciary for the convictions to the ECtHR and the measures to be taken in relation to these judges are contrary to both the legal provisions and the recommendations of the international law institutions.

Magistrates pointed out that, over the years, it is observed that on the eve of elections, including during the electoral campaign, politicians pay special attention to the social guarantees of judges, which are an integral part of their independence, through different legislative initiatives.

“The judiciary pleads for the reform of the judiciary in accordance with democratic principles and does not oppose the judge’s liability under the law for the admitted violations, but will not tolerate a widespread denigration of the judiciary and is determined to defend its guarantees granted by international standards. It is important for the representatives of the governing parties to understand the negative effect of these statements and actions which, besides denigrating the judicial act, can hinder rule of law,” the judges noted in an official declaration.

A third party point of view

Alexandru Tanase, former Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Court, argued that the decision to reduce the funding allocated to the judiciary will not affect the magistrates, but the citizens, lawyers, as well as other employees from judiciary who have low salaries.

For an illegality committed by very easily identifiable persons, all citizens will be sanctioned, who will receive worse services by 70 million lei. […] By the decision to reduce the funding of the justice, in fact, the honest judges who never admitted such illegality will be sanctioned. The clerks, lawyers who will benefit from worse working conditions will be sanctioned. In contrast, those who illegally adopted the review decision will be not affected by the brave decision of the prime minister,” wrote Tanase on his Facebook page.

The president of the Center for Legal Resources and lawyer Vladislav Gribincea stated that in the outstanding case lost by the Republic of Moldova to the ECtHR, a series of violations were committed, not only by the judges from the system.

“What happened to some of the owners of the “Gemenii” building is not only the fault of the judges. It is also the fault of the prosecutors, and the fault of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, because the owners’ propriety was forcibly and abusively deprived and after that the prosecutors closed the criminal case that served as the basis for the eviction from the building,” said Gribincea.

According to Vladislav Gribincea, any funding cuts for this area could be declared unconstitutional, as the 2020 budget for judiciary is around 400 million lei and is composed largely of salaries and other expenses for the administration of the courts.

Photo: Arek Socha| Pixabay

Jurnalistă that speaks English very well. De aia Maria are grijă că prietenii noștri străini să nu piardă nicio informație valoroasă despre actualitatea din Moldova.

Reintegration

Protecting public health or violating freedom of movement? Protests in Transnistria

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On July 02, a protest has been registered in Ribnita (a city in the Transnistrian region). Dozens of city residents who work in Rezina (Moldova), blocked the bridge across the Dniester that connects the two localities. People complained they are not allowed to go to work because the Tiraspol authorities cancelled their permits to cross the bridge.

More than 70 people demanded free access to Moldova, as well as respecting their right to free movement. They also requested the cancellation of the obligation to stay in quarantine for 14 days upon return from Moldova.

On June 29, a decision of the Transnistrian authorities has been made, stating that the residents of the Transnistrian region are allowed to enter and leave the region without being quarantined upon return, in case they go to Moldova for maximum 12 hours.

Moreover, citizens from Transnistria, employed by companies on the right bank of the Dniester, were granted a temporary permit issued by the Tiraspol authorities in order to travel freely to their workplace and back. Once the permits were cancelled, these people were left without the possibility to go to work.

The Tiraspol authorities claimed that the permits were cancelled because at least 10 employees of factories in Rezina, who are residents of Ribnita, were infected with COVID-19. Therefore, avoiding a second wave of infections among the inhabitants of the Transnistrian region is aimed, according tot the the so-called Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruslan Mova.

Mova warned that people who organised the protest could be held accountable. He claimed people from Transnistria still have a choice, as they can enter the Republic of Moldova and stay there during the coronavirus pandemic or they can be quarantined when returning to Transnistria.

“The abusive actions of the Transnistrian structures are described as an act of defiance of the basic acts of the peacekeeping operation and a total disregard for the decisions approved at Unified Control Commission,” is mentioned in a press release of the the Bureau for Reintegration Policies from Moldova. The Transnistrian side’s manner of distorting the truth, misinforming the Commission and trying to manipulate public opinion was condemned by the Moldovan delegation, highlighting that the reduction in the Commission’s authority is a consequence of Tiraspol’s actions, as it also mentioned in the press release.

Source: Alexandr Podgoretchi

On the other hand, the OSCE Mission to Moldova expressed its deep concern about the unexpected cancellation by the Transnistrian side of permits for the residents of the region, is mentioned in an OSCE statement cited by INFOTAG News Agency

Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Claus Neukirch, urged the region’s authorities not to create artificial obstacles to the free movement of residents. “Although health measures are needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there must be a functioning mechanism to allow people to travel to their jobs, access healthcare services and other urgent needs even during the pandemic,” Neukirch said.

The OSCE Mission to Moldova also urged the Transnistrian administration to dismantle all border checkpoints installed in the last five months.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiraspol unilaterally installed 37 illegal checkpoints in the Security Zone. Such actions impeded the free movement of about 50 thousand inhabitants from 11 localities and tensioned the relations between Transnistria and the Republic of Moldova, according to a statement of the Government.

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Society

COVID-19 statistics: Moldova’s harmful figures that still can break the European records

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In June, the COVID-19 pandemic advanced rapidly in the Republic of Moldova. The number of contaminated persons increased by 92% as compared to May, while the growth was only 23% from April to May, according to a note of the ADEPT association. The same source stated that an increase by 70% in the number of deaths was recorded in June as compared to May.

With the lifting of the state of emergency in Moldova, the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission cancelled several restrictions contrary to the warnings of public health specialists regarding such premature measures: relaunch of dental and hairdressing services, resumption of international rail and road transport of people, markets re-opening and resumption of museums and libraries’ activity. The Commission also approved religious ceremonies in closed spaces, opening shopping malls and outdoor training for performance athletes, as well as regular flights and passenger charters.

See also: Lifting coronavirus restrictions in Moldova – risks and future costs

As a result, a record number of daily cases and deaths caused by the coronavirus was recorded in June. At the end of the state of emergency (May 15) the total balance of confirmed cases had reached 5 745, with a steady ascending trend. The trend  continued in the following weeks, reaching over 2 000 confirmed positive cases per week.

Source: statista.com

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection (MHLSP) data, the peak of the daily cases recorded in Moldova was reached on June 17 – 478 new cases. To date, the total number of confirmed cases is 17 150 and the total number of deaths – 560. The Republic of Moldova ranks the 12th in the list of the European countries with the highest incidence of coronavirus cases – 410.88 cases per 100 000 population.

Another record number that has a huge negative impact on the way the coronavirus pandemic is managed in the country is the rate of the infected medical staff out of the total confirmed cases. Until, July 2, 2 429 cases of infection (13.11% of total cases) have been confirmed among medical staff, including 613 doctors, 28 pharmacists, 974 nurses, 125 janitors, 698 auxiliary personnel, as the MHLSP reported. The number of medical workers infected with COVID-19 has almost the same increase rate as the total number of infections, mentioned the ADEPT association.

The positive test rate is another figure that recorded one of the most significant growths as compared to other European countries. The total positive tests rate recorded since the beginning of testing (in February) is 20.8%, with the highest monthly rate of 24.1% in June. The maximum number of tests performed in one day was 1 659 on June 17. All in all, 82 635 people were tested for the first time and 20 404 were tested repeatedly in Moldova.

The MHLSP warned that the coronavirus also massively affects children. The authorities specified that a total of 824 minors were infected in the Republic of Moldova.

The positive news is that the number of registered active cases decreased during the last days of June. The same tendency was observed as regarding the medical staff. At the same time, the number of recoveries increased during the same period.

Source: statista.com

Photo: Wikimedia

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Politics

The effect of Russia’s constitutional changes on the Transnistrian region

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A nationwide referendum is held in the Russian Federation between June 25 and July 1 in order to amend the constitution of the country.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity to vote during several days was provided. The voting process is held outside and, in addition, contactless voting at home, electronic voting and voting using the Mobile Voter mechanism are available.

In the Transnistrian region, voting was allowed for three days, from June 28-30, the whole process being organised under similar conditions as in Russia, the Tass News Agency announced.

According to a survey conducted at 800 Russian polling stations from June 25 to June 28, the majority of voters opted for the amendments, 23.6% opposed them and 0.4% invalidated the ballot paper,

Beside the amendment offering the possibility of prolonging the presidential term of Vladimir Putin (until 2036 instead of 2024), there are a a few controversial amendments to the Russian fundamental law.

Source: Facebook| The Center for the Study of the Transnistrian Conflict Consequences

Russian federal territories

One of the most important articles of the Constitution of the Russian Federation that could be amended is article no. 67,  which provides for creation of federal territories in Russia and introduction of the expression “subjects of the Russian Federation”.

“By making this change, Putin wants to make sure that certain federal subjects do not leave the Russian Federation, such as Chechnya, Tatarstan or Crimea, the latter being illegally occupied by the Russian Federation. The territory of the Republic of Moldova doesn’t belong to  the Russian Federation. However, taking into consideration the priorities that President Dodon and socialist have, one could draw a parallel.

During the propagandist Moscow parade, Putin mentioned in his speech that all neighbours ‘are part of the Russian world’. Moldova, according to Vladimir Putin, is part of his strategic interest. The fact that 11% of the Moldova’s territory is hosting occupation troops proves it one more time,” said security policy expert Rosian Vasiloi.

Previously, President Igor Dodon claimed that federalisation is the only solution to solving conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, including the Transnistrian one.

Source: Facebook| The Center for the Study of the Transnistrian Conflict Consequences

Russia as the legal successor to the Soviet Union

In the same article, a paragraph was introduced, saying that the Russian Federation is the legal successor of the Soviet Union. Another amending paragraph states that the Russian Federation honours the memory of the “Fatherland’s defenders” and ensures the protection of historical truth. “The diminution of the importance of the act of heroism in the defence of the Fatherland is not allowed.”

Historian Andrei Cusco mentioned that the victory in World War II is a myth that represented the main pillar of the regime’s ideology after Putin came to power in 2000. “Russia has taken certain moments from the Soviet communist narrative and reinterpreted them to serve the interests and visions of the current regime,” Cusco said.

The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation prohibits the dissemination of information that expresses a clear disrespect regarding the days of military glory and memorable dates in Russia related to the defence of the Fatherland, as Meduza informed.

A good example is the reaction of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova to the TVR Moldova declaration that June 22, 1941 was the day when Romania entered the World War II to liberate the Russian-occupied lands in the summer of 1940. “For Romanians, this date went down in history as the day of starting the fight for the reunification of the nation. The President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, is not of the same opinion, as he stated that today is the day when the occupation of Bessarabia began,” it is said in the article.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation qualified the material as “uncivilised and extremely dangerous, because it justifies the war criminals.”

“Such tricks offend most Russian citizens who remember the common heroism of the Red Army that saved Europe from the Nazi plague.”

The perfect Russian child

One more completion to the constitution refers to children education, namely patriotism, citizenship and respect for the elderly.

The same approach existed during the USSR, when the principles of a very cultured man were considered love for the socialist homeland, friendship, companionship, humanity, honour, love for socialist work, etc.

 Marriage of a man and a woman

Another newly introduced amendment provides for the protection of the family, maternity, paternity and childhood, defending the institution of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, creating the conditions for a decent upbringing of children in a family, as well as for the fulfilment of the obligation to take care of parents.

Yet, another video promoting the amendment of the constitution promotes homophobia as well.

Crime against Russians

The Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner believes that the way of voting the amendments is not democratic. “There are many proposed amendments. Among them, there are those that I would be willing to support, but there are those that I am against of. Unfortunately, everything is organized in such a way, that either you order the entire dinner or none of the dishes,” he said.

Liubov Sobol, a Russian politician and lawyer at the Anticorruption Foundation, claimed that resetting Putin’s mandates to zero is a crime against Russians. “20 years were enough to implement all the reforms needed for our country. We saw that Putin failed. Corruption is flourishing in the country, we have a low level of education. There must be a change of power, and all eligible candidates must be allowed to run for president. People have to make a choice.”

This text is a translation. The original article here.

Photo: Facebook| The Center for the Study of the Transnistrian Conflict Consequences

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